Archive for July, 2011

Have you ever reached that time in your life when you finally said, “Enough is enough!” I can’t count the number of times in the last 10+ years that I have said the words, “I need to lose some weight.” The only problem was, I never meant it. Until I turned mid 40’s I was average weight for my build. For the next 10 years I was just a big guy, over weight but not a lot. Then my job took me on the road a lot, with eating out everyday, and wham, there I was, 240 plus pounds. For the most part I was ok with it, until it started working on my health. I started seeing myself like a lot of other men my age whose health was getting worse rather than better. Then something inside of me began to click and say that does not have to be.


So last December I said to myself, “Self, I am tired of being fat.” The difference this time was I meant it. I knew what my trouble was. Gluttony and laziness! I was a serious failure in self-discipline. I hated exercise and I was a sugarholic. I learned that my addiction to sugar was destroying my immune system, and it was a wake up call. My love affair with sweets was killing me. I will not bore you with the scientific facts of what sugar does to your body, since you can Google that on your own. No, I would rather talk about what I did to get my life back.


I simply kicked the habit. I have been sugar free now for 8 months! I’m over 50 pounds lighter plus a minus 7 inches in the waist. And, like most people that finally get serious about health, I took inventory of what I eat and adjusted to those food groups that promote good health and weight lost. I once bragged that I would rather eat a whole apple pie that a good steak, but now the reverse is true and that only in moderation. I also had some good friends at Church that thought enough of me to help me get a jump start with the right nutrient supplements. 


I can now say that I am in better health than I have been in 25 years. My doctor, who has known my body those 25 years said as much. I walk several miles a day and started running, too. I work with the two time Gateway Classic Body Building Champion, Shawn Lee. He is the picture of perfect health, and he wanted to work with me as my personal trainer. I never really wanted to work out with weights and weight training due to the many injuries and broken bones I’ve had. However, after hearing his story I soon realized that he had nearly as many as I did, so I’m now training with him 3 days a week and loving it.


Life brings with it a struggle within us, and because it’s there, we are force to make choices. Those choices are what make us into what we are or what we become. Some of my choices have lead to trial and suffering, but through those experiences my soul was strengthened because of my choosing  Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Now that I have come to realize that my body is His Temple, and doesn’t deserve the abuse I poured on it all those years, I have built myself a new life style. Today, I can truly say that I am 66 and loving it.






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The Henderson Reunion

& Courson/Roberson

The way I remembered it.

Steve said that we all are getting together in Folkston to reunite, y’all come. That was like ringing the dinner bell, and after being in the family for 45 years I kind of knew what to expect. The Scottish blood runs deep in that clan, and I was just hoping the kilts will stay in the closet. If you have ever seen Steve and Jon in one you would know what I mean. We Englishmen don’t wear skirts, and my mind has not changed in 45 years.

 The chatter on FB was loud up until time to leave, but we were soon on our way, taking the scenic route through Fargo, where we had lunch at the Fargo Café. Lunch was fried chicken, turnip greens, mash potatoes and gravy, with corn bread, a good snack southern style. From Fargo it was through the southern edge of the swamp to St. George. The traffic was heavy through there. I think I remember seeing 4 log trucks, several firefighters and their trucks, “God Bless Them,” a pick up and one car. BJ soon drove us into Folkston and up to the Folkston House Bread & Breakfast, one of two her sister Jeanne owns and operates, the other being the Mizell House where the big lunch was planned.

I have never seen a B&B with as many antiques. We have stayed there several times and I never cease to marvel over them. Doug, the caretaker, had the 110 year old place immaculate. What a wonderful place to stay if you want to see the swamp. And the trains, can’t forget about the trains. Robert Mary and Lavon had arrived and left to go shopping. I guess Robert needed some plaid boxers to go with his kilt. Soon the “Clan” began to arrive and the reunion started. Our clan leader Steve, also the resident “Genealogist,” broke out the lap top and displayed the family tree. I have never seen one more detailed than what he had developed over the years. And the history! He knows all the history. I don’t have the courage to even go there!  I will say this though, the hearts have grown bigger and a lot more compassionate now. As for all who came this week-end, someone will have to add a postscript with the list, because I will surly miss a name or two.

If you are the reunion type then you can imagine how the conversations went. All the world’s problems were solved that afternoon, and before it broke up after midnight all the clan’s dirty linen was hung out to dry. If some of our ancestor could have heard us, they would be saying, “Did I really do that?”  But the great thing here was not just remembering the past, but the memory making with love ones today, as cousin Joyce likes to say. John Steinbeck in his book “The Grapes of  Wrath,” wrote, “How will we know it’s us with out our past.” Times, like this reunion gives us the opportunity to make those memories, even for those of us that become a Henderson by choice.

Supper time.

I don’t know if the Okefenokee Restaurant was ready for us, but we show up in mass. BJ and I walked to it wanting to experience Folkston from the sidewalk. After we went in we were told we had to wait outside. Now I’m not sure if that was because of the crowd or the clans rep. Anyway, we waited out in the parking lot with a threat of rain. I decided that the chef grilling the rib eyes on the curb needed a little help and showed him how we Hendersons do it. BJ recorded it for the “Memory book.” Finally we were allowed in and what a buffet of sea food and steak with all the trimmings! Not a good thing to offer up to this bunch. Have you ever seen a Henderson eat buffet? It is a thing to see, and a joy to watch I might add, especially when you can get a couple of heavy eaters competing. I do believe the dishwasher had to put it into high speed to keep up with the plates at the food bar. The table conversation was great again and pure southern. At some point we started making our way out to the relief of the owner I’m sure. When told that we would return for the breakfast buffet, he didn’t smile.

Ann and Mary joined BJ and I on our return walk back to the Folkston House for coffee and fellowship. You can’t help but enjoy the charm of this quaint southern town. And one of the best ways is to see it from its side walks. The old live oaks, the Grande Dames of the South have a way of just embracing you. Out in front of the house are several Catalpa Trees, with their two foot long seed pods. You don’t normally see them in an urban setting, being more popular in rural areas, because of the large caterpillars that attacks the leaves and are prized as fishing bait. I could not stay with the clan for long, and soon retired for the night to listen to the many trains pass by on the two very active tracks through town. The sounds of the trains seem to call to my soul.

 Early to rise with coffee on the veranda and more great fellowship. I guess being old such things become important and sacred, made more so with family. Steve and Ann, Robert and Mary, Lavon,  BJ and I had a great time out there. Later in the morning while some rode, several of us walked to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet. I’ve never been in a restaurant that has the grits and eggs already mixed as this one did. I added sausage to mine along with a side of bacon. There were mounds of pancakes with hot maple syrup, pastries, fruit and left over rib eyes. Oh my. Before long we had a crowd, and again a good time reminiscing about gone family members and good old days. We tend to live in the past because most of our life is there. Tired of setting I went for a walk down to the “Folkston train viewing platform,” and sat with the older folks there and watch the trains come by. Now, how much more an exciting time can one have. I do believe I am getting old.

The Mizell House and lunch.

This stately old house is as a rare beauty today as it was in 1917 when it was built. The huge wrap around porch is large enough to hold a hundred folks. Tall date palms escorted you up the sidewalk while the aristocratic magnolias shaded you with their lush beauty and southern charm. What a great place to have an event such as ours. We arrived early and after setting up the tables for lunch, we sat on the porch and waited for the clan to show, which didn’t take long. How wonderful is it to see kinfolk you have not seen for a long time drive up and remembering them from days long ago or even just a few days ago. Someone once said, “What can ever equal the memory of  being young together?” Just because people change and move on with life, it doesn’t mean that they love you any less and that rang true today. The Henderson Clan warmly embraced each other today. After which we dined together on a mountain of food cooked southern style. Oh my.

After much visiting around the big house and porch, Loren and I took the small children down to the train viewing platform to watch the train go by. BJ later joined us and took some photos before it started to rain. During a lull we started walking back, but got caught in a heavy down pour and had to run. BJ had not run in 20 years. What a sight! Great fun for everyone. Later on we said our goodbyes and made our way back home, thinking that this was one of our better reunions. Jeanne’s hospitality for the use of the two houses made a good reunion better. Thanks sister-law.

Good job Steve, lets do it again…




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